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WWF Says European Union is 'Failing the Forests'

Hardwood Floors

791 days ago   Article ID# 1464862
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World Wildlife Fund

MADISON, WISCONSIN (Hardwood Floors) - The European Union is coming up short in stemming the flow of illegal and unsustainable timber into the confederated countries, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The criticism comes in anticipation of March 3, 2013, when the EU will enact the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. In essence, the legislation is similar to the U.S.'s current Lacey Act, which attempts to ensure that only legally harvested timber is imported into the EU.

Making conclusions from a recent survey of EU member countries, the WWF determined that 17 out of 27 countries are failing to take sufficient action for FLEGT implementation. Countries that received high marks were Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Spain received low marks.

The EU must ratify Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with "tropical" timber exporter countries to halt trade in illegal timber. So far, the EU has ratified action plans with three countries: Cameroon, Ghana and Republic of Congo, according to its website. Negotiations are ongoing with Liberia, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

“Illegal logging has been on the EU agenda for years," said WWF Forest Policy Officer Anke Schulmeister. "Under the EU timber regulation, member states still have time until 2013 to at least set penalties and sanctions to hit those who are breaking the rules. But they need to start doing it now."

According to Timber Trades Journal, the EU has "a long to-do list," including having each member country decide its own penalties for violating FLEGT.

Copyright 2014 Hardwood Floors   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 791 days ago   Article ID# 1464862

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